Five Challenges to Our Food System [VIDEO]

In remarks to the Environmental Grantmakers Association earlier this week, Fred Kirschenmann (of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture) identified 5 challenges that will profoundly affect our agriculture and food systems:


Plenary session at Envt'l Grantmakers Association, October 6, 2010


  1. The end of cheap energy.
  2. The end of stable climate.
  3. No more surplus fresh water.
  4. Diminishing reserves of biodiversity.
  5. Depleted biological health of our soils.

The full discussion was based on Wendell Berry’s insight that “How we eat determines, to a considerable extent, how the world is used.” The other speakers were Anya Fernald, Director of Live Culture Co., and Nikki Henderson, Executive Director of People’s Grocery.  I recorded Fred’s introductory remarks, which run about 6 and a half minutes. The person talking at the very beginning is Dr. Bob Lawrence, Director of the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins University.

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3 Responses to Five Challenges to Our Food System [VIDEO]

  1. Ruth M says:

    “The End of Cheap Energy”? Not according to David Blume, ecologist and systems-biologist: I just listened to a 9/9/10 interview with him on Caroline Casey’s Visionary Activist show on KPFA-FM (to download – He’s very excited about everything that can be distilled into alcohol which is a great fuel for many things. Also, if industrial hemp (no drug content), could once again be legally grown in this country, it can produce fuel and food and help the soil –

  2. claseur says:

    I too am very excited about everything that can be distilled into alcohol.

    It’s true that there are many more sources of inexpensive, renewable energy than we currently use at any scale worth talking about. Plains Justice is about to release a report about the economic and environmental potential of ag-sourced biomass. Stay tuned.

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